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May-Day and Other Pieces   By: (1803-1882)

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This eBook was prepared from the 1867 George Routledge and Sons edition by Les Bowler.

MAY DAY AND OTHER PIECES BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON.

CONTENTS.

MAY DAY.

THE ADIRONDACS.

OCCASIONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS PIECES.

BRAHMA

NEMESIS

FATE

FREEDOM

ODE SUNG IN THE TOWN HALL, CONCORD, JULY 4, 1857

BOSTON HYMN

VOLUNTARIES

LOVE AND THOUGHT

LOVER'S PETITION

UNA

LETTERS

RUBIES

MERLIN'S SONG

THE TEST

SOLUTION

NATURE AND LIFE.

NATURE

THE ROMANY GIRL

DAYS

THE CHARTIST'S COMPLAINT

MY GARDEN

THE TITMOUSE

SEA SHORE

SONG OF NATURE

TWO RIVERS

WALDEINSAMKEIT

TERMINUS

THE PAST

THE LAST FAREWELL

IN MEMORIAM

ELEMENTS.

EXPERIENCE

COMPENSATION

POLITICS

HEROISM

CHARACTER

CULTURE

FRIENDSHIP

BEAUTY

MANNERS

ART

SPIRITUAL LAWS

UNITY

WORSHIP

QUATRAINS.

TRANSLATIONS.

MAY DAY.

Daughter of Heaven and Earth, coy Spring, With sudden passion languishing, Maketh all things softly smile, Painteth pictures mile on mile, Holds a cup with cowslip wreaths, Whence a smokeless incense breathes. Girls are peeling the sweet willow, Poplar white, and Gilead tree, And troops of boys Shouting with whoop and hilloa, And hip, hip three times three. The air is full of whistlings bland; What was that I heard Out of the hazy land? Harp of the wind, or song of bird, Or clapping of shepherd's hands, Or vagrant booming of the air, Voice of a meteor lost in day? Such tidings of the starry sphere Can this elastic air convey. Or haply 't was the cannonade Of the pent and darkened lake, Cooled by the pendent mountain's shade, Whose deeps, till beams of noonday break, Afflicted moan, and latest hold Even unto May the iceberg cold. Was it a squirrel's pettish bark, Or clarionet of jay? or hark, Where yon wedged line the Nestor leads, Steering north with raucous cry Through tracts and provinces of sky, Every night alighting down In new landscapes of romance, Where darkling feed the clamorous clans By lonely lakes to men unknown. Come the tumult whence it will, Voice of sport, or rush of wings, It is a sound, it is a token That the marble sleep is broken, And a change has passed on things.

Beneath the calm, within the light, A hid unruly appetite Of swifter life, a surer hope, Strains every sense to larger scope, Impatient to anticipate The halting steps of aged Fate. Slow grows the palm, too slow the pearl: When Nature falters, fain would zeal Grasp the felloes of her wheel, And grasping give the orbs another whirl. Turn swiftlier round, O tardy ball! And sun this frozen side, Bring hither back the robin's call, Bring back the tulip's pride.

Why chidest thou the tardy Spring? The hardy bunting does not chide; The blackbirds make the maples ring With social cheer and jubilee; The redwing flutes his o ka lee , The robins know the melting snow; The sparrow meek, prophetic eyed, Her nest beside the snow drift weaves, Secure the osier yet will hide Her callow brood in mantling leaves; And thou, by science all undone, Why only must thy reason fail To see the southing of the sun?

As we thaw frozen flesh with snow, So Spring will not, foolish fond, Mix polar night with tropic glow, Nor cloy us with unshaded sun, Nor wanton skip with bacchic dance, But she has the temperance Of the gods, whereof she is one, Masks her treasury of heat Under east winds crossed with sleet. Plants and birds and humble creatures Well accept her rule austere; Titan born, to hardy natures Cold is genial and dear. As Southern wrath to Northern right Is but straw to anthracite; As in the day of sacrifice, When heroes piled the pyre, The dismal Massachusetts ice Burned more than others' fire, So Spring guards with surface cold The garnered heat of ages old: Hers to sow the seed of bread, That man and all the kinds be fed; And, when the sunlight fills the hours, Dissolves the crust, displays the flowers.

The world rolls round, mistrust it not, Befalls again what once befell; All things return, both sphere and mote, And I shall hear my bluebird's note, And dream the dream of Auburn dell... Continue reading book >>




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